head, torso and arms of a man with Chinese characters written in black on his face, arms and body

© Zhang Huan Studio%2C courtesy The Pace Gallery

1/2 (Text), 1998

expand_more
Not on Viewexpand_more

Shortly before Zhang Huan left his native China to temporarily relocate to the United States, he performed a work of art in which he invited friends to write phrases or words on his face and body with black ink. In this resulting self-portrait, Huan's ethnicity is literally inscribed on his body. Yet for most Western viewers the text is unreadable. 1/2 (Text) is a visual metaphor for the difficult transcultural experience upon which Zhang was about to embark. As an Asian body circulating within a Western culture, would Zhang himself be as difficult to understand as his language' He said, "The body is the only direct way through which I come to know society and society comes to know me. The body is the proof of identity. The body is language."

Exhibitions
Details
Title
1/2 (Text)
Artist Life
born 1965
Role
Photographer
Accession Number
2010.9
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

In consideration of the health and safety of visitors, volunteers, and staff, Mia is temporarily closed to the public. Learn more here.

head, torso and arms of a man with Chinese characters written in black on his face, arms and body

© Zhang Huan Studio, courtesy The Pace Gallery

Because of © restrictions, we can only show you a small image of this artwork.